Latest Steelers 7-round mock draft
By: Brock Wells
The Pittsburgh Steelers are experiencing the kind of season they haven’t had in a number of years. The team is on pace for its first-ever below-.500 season under head coach Mike Tomlin. There are a number of holes on this rebuilding roster that need to be filled heading into 2023 and beyond. It’s unthinkable that a Steelers team could be down and out for long. Luckily for them, many of their needs are glaringly obvious.
The Steelers are at the bottom of the pack in the NFL right now and will be in a position to bring in some extremely high talent in the 2023 NFL Draft. With that in mind, here’s what a mock draft for them looks like.
1st Round (3rd Overall): Will Anderson ”“ Edge, Alabama
Will Anderson is probably the best player in college football right now. He currently has 29.5 sacks in his collegiate career and 52 tackles for loss with a number of games left to go. The kind of ability he brings to the table is unmatched in the ’23 draft and will be able to bring in an immediate impact to the professional level.
The Steelers’ defense is clearly a different thing without T.J. Watt, so they’re going to want to add some depth to strengthen it in the draft. There’s no one better suited for that task than Anderson.
2nd Round (33rd Overall): Clark Phillips III ”“ CB, Utah
Clark Phillips III has more interceptions this season than he’s ever had, and he still has a number of games left to play. His abilities in pass coverage are among the best in the ’23 draft class and make him an attractive option for teams looking for a ball hawk. At under 200 pounds, strength and tackling are a bit lower than his abilities in pass coverage.
The Steelers are giving up pass yards like crazy this season, coming off a shellacking at the hands of the Buffalo Bills. The team could desperately use a player with coverage abilities like Phillips.
2nd Round (64th Overall): John Michael Schmitz ”“ OL, Minnesota
John Michael Schmitz is a 6’4”, 320-pound force on the offensive line for Minnesota. He may not be the quickest off the ball lineman you’ll ever see, but his ability to hold up under pressure is top notch and he has excellent hand skills. He’s also shown the ability to gradually improve over the course of his collegiate career.
The Steelers are going to be sticking with Kenny Pickett at quarterback and will need to give him as much protection on the offensive line as possible to support his growth into the position at the professional level. Schmitz feels like a good fit.
4th Round (100th Overall): Colby Wooden ”“ DL, Auburn
Colby Wooden provides a lot of versatility on the defensive line and has the speed to get past the opposing offensive lineman. At 278 pounds, he’s got a nice balance between size and quickness. There’s a lot of upside growing alongside his position in the ’23 draft, and he’s been one of the bright spots on an Auburn team that’s really struggling this season.
The Steelers could use a player like Wooden to further strengthen their depth on the defensive line. Adding a player like this to a defensive line rotation with the presence of T.J. Watt could give him plenty of opportunities to break out.
5th Round (130th Overall): Akheem Mesidor ”“ DL, Miami
Akheem Mesidor played his first two seasons of college football in West Virginia but is finishing out his career in Miami. He’s got as many sacks as his career high already this season with a number of games left to play. At 272 pounds, he may be a bit undersized as a nose tackle but has potential to move across the line as well.
When you think of the Steelers, you think of defensive prowess. That’s been lacking so far in 2022 and they’re going to want to get that back in 2023. Mesidor is another solid option for them to do this.
6th Round (162nd Overall): Carter Warren ”“ OG, Pitt
Carter Warren possesses plenty of strength as a pass protector but can stand to improve in the running game. Still, at 6’5”, 320 pounds, there’s enough upside and potential to think he’s worth drafting in the later rounds. He has good skills with his hands on the offensive line that make up for some of his shortcomings with overall balance.
The Steelers could find it worth bringing in a player like Warren and try to develop him with the potential he has. It’s never a bad idea to bring in protection for your quarterback, especially with a young player like Pickett.
7th Round (194th Overall): Ja’Qurious Conley ”“ CB, North Carolina
Ja’Qurious Conley has a lot of struggles with both the running and passing game as a defensive back, but he also possesses a lot of potential and has shown moments of real strength throughout his college career. On-route recognition is a plus for his game and he has the quickness that allows him to close in quickly.
The Steelers may want to bring in a player with that kind of potential to develop due to his long-term outlook. Conley isn’t a player who’s going to be able to come in and play right away in all likelihood, but with some time, he could be a solid player in a defensive back rotation.